Cinema: Animators, Sharpen Your Pixels

From bug fables to princely epics, the computer screen is changing the way animated films look on the movie screen

One flick of Rick Sayre's keyboard tells you all you need to know about the future of animation. "We start with a pencil and a paintbrush," says Sayre, senior animation scientist for the digital studio Pixar. On his screen is a graceful line-and-pastel drawing of two ants gazing across an underground landscape, an early rendering from the much anticipated film A Bug's Life, which opens this week. "When we recruit artists," Sayre says, "we still look for people with great hands." Then he hits the return key, and up pops the finished shot, lush with color, aglow with light and so...

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